| Treatment Options for Metatarsalgia
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Treatment Options for Metatarsalgia

Treatment Options for Metatarsalgia

By definition, Metatarsalgia is a pain in the ball of the foot. It is a common condition experienced by most people during their lifetime. It is a common overuse injury, resulting in an inflammation of the metatarsal heads (the bones that span the width of your foot).

In most cases, metatarsalgia can be confused with other foot conditions that affect the ball of the foot. These are conditions such as Morton’s Neuroma and Metatarsophalangeal synovitis (MTP Synovitis).

Metatarsalgia can often be a symptom of underlying conditions affecting the ball of the foot, so diagnosis and treatment are crucial.

Causes of Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia can be attributed to a prominent ball of the foot, which otherwise receives too much pressure as you walk or run.

Due to a metatarsal drop that forms a prominence at the base of the foot. This projection ends up experiencing the pressure that would have otherwise been directed towards the first or fifth metatarsals.

Unsupportive footwear such as high heels can redirect a majority of the body’s weight to the ball of the foot, leading to symptoms associated with metatarsalgia.

Individuals with conditions such as high arches or hammertoes are more susceptible to metatarsalgia. This is because the two conditions mentioned place high amounts of stress and pressure to the ball of the foot, leading to metatarsalgia.

Individuals with foot fractures or bunions tend to change their gait and can develop metatarsalgia as a result.

Athletes taking part in intense training activities that call for repeated pressure application on the ball of the foot might be susceptible to metatarsalgia.

Symptoms of Metatarsalgia

  • A numbing or burning pain at the ball of the foot, or in the middle of your foot.
  • This pain is aggravated by activities like walking or running.
  • Formation of a callus at the inflamed area.
  • An increase in the level of pain while walking barefoot, or while walking on hard surfaces.
  • A disappearance of the pain while at rest, or while sitting down.


The Phoenix podiatrists at Oasis Foot and Ankle can perform an X-Ray scan to look for dropped metatarsals, verify the length of your metatarsals and look for other foot deformities.

An ultrasound can highlight underlying conditions such as Morton’s Neuroma that could be causing the pain in the foot.

An MRI scan will detect causes of pain at the metatarsal region. Such reasons could include (but are not limited to) arthritis or traumatic disorders.

Treatment Options for Metatarsalgia

Conservative Treatments

  1. Reduction in the intensity of activities and ensuring adequate rest. An ice pack can be placed over the ball of the foot to reduce the inflammation.
  2. Wear of shoes with adequate cushioning at the ball area and stiff soles. The extra cushioning will assist in absorbing the pressure at the ball of the foot, as a result of this, reduce pain and promote healing.
  3. Anti-inflammatory medication can be prescribed to reduce the level of inflammation at the metatarsal joint.
  4. Your Scottsdale foot specialist can recommend a custom orthotic that is designed based on the contour of your foot to allow for a reduction in pressure at the ball of the foot.

Surgical treatments

If conservative treatment methods are not successful in treating this condition, your podiatrist may resort to a more aggressive surgical treatment. These may include the shortening of metatarsals that are too long or shaving off the prominent metatarsal heads to relieve pressure.

Surgical treatments are often avoided due to the lengthy recovery period. Make sure you have exhausted all nonsurgical treatment options before resorting to surgery.

If for example, you are going through any of the sign and symptoms of metatarsalgia, visit Oasis Foot and Ankle for first rate treatment at several offices in both Phoenix and Scottsdale.  Most insurance is accepted, call us today!

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Most Insurance(s) Accepted at Both Our Phoenix and Scottsdale Podiatry Centers. Call us today at (602) 993-2700!